I remember the hype when Panda’s HMEE-I (High Mobility Engineer Excavator) kit appeared on the shelves, it instantly grabbed the attention of the modeling community.
Developed for the US Army for deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan, the HMEE is a unique vehicle, with a ton of that “cool factor” the modelers crave for. However, Panda kits are notorious for their shortcomings, from the fit issues and lack of detail to poor instructions. Anyone who wants to do this kit justice, needs high-quality references… Wings & Wheels Publications to the rescue with their latest photo reference manual for modelers covering the HMEE.
HMEE-I in Detail (G065) from WWP follows the same standard layout as the rest of the company’s portfolio. With the dimensions of 24 x 22 cm, this softcover book features images of vehicles photographed on army exercises in Germany or deployed in Afghanistan. With over 230 photos on 84 pages, the book is jam-packed with superb images, showing the complete vehicle as well as the details of the exterior and interior.
- Title: HMEE-I in Detail – High Mobility Engineer Excavators
- Publisher: Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP)
- Code: G065
- Authors: Jan Horák, Radim Jankásek, Brent Sauer and Ralph Zwilling
- Format: softcover (22x24 cm)
- Pages: 84
- Color: full color
- Language: English
- ISBN: 978-80-87509-79-1
- Retail Price: $33 (€26)
The book is divided into chapters, color coded on page edges for easier navigation. The chapters include:
- History and Development (002-005)
- US Army Kit A (006-009)
- All Variants Exterior (010-023)
- Kit A Cab Exterior (024-031)
- US Army Kit A Interior (032-039)
- Earthmoving Gear (040-057)
- Engine Bay (058-059)
- Suspension (060-063)
- US Army ISAF Kit B (064-071)
- Bundeswehr Kit C (072-083)
The first chapter deals with History and Development, outlining the origins of the vehicle and its three levels of ballistic protection (Kit A, B and C). The information provided is brief but provides a very interesting read. Several full-page photos serve as a nice introduction into US Army Kit A walk around chapter, which covers the basic unarmored vehicle variant. All Variants Exterior shows the exterior details with are the same for all production variants. A very interesting diagram of decals and stencils is something modelers would appreciate, as Panda’s kit lacks any info on decal placement. Next up is Kit A Cab Exterior depicting the cab with no ballistic protection, while US Army Kit A Interior shows the details of US vehicles Kit A and Kit B variant interiors. This chapter offers an absolutely amazing reference material for all those wanting to super-detail the Panda kit interior. Earthmoving Gear shows the details of loader arms, front bucket, spare wheel carrier, forklift loader attachment, as well as rear gear assembly with the backhoe bucket. Engine Bay chapter consists of 2-pages of engine details, and Suspension deals with vehicle axles and wheels. These three chapters show the parts of the vehicle which are the same for all variants. The next chapter displays US Army Kit B vehicles, photographed in Afghanistan. The details of armored cab are shown inside and out. Finally, Bundeswehr Kit C provides images of kit variant with TES (Theater Entry Standard), that includes improved ballistic protection, safer crew seat, mine protection and emergency roof hatch. The interior details are shown as well.
The book features HMEE-I vehicles photographed during training exercises, as well as those deployed in ISAF Allied contingent. As a modeler, I particularly like the photos showing the comparison of color and weathering differences between the vehicles after exercises in Germany and in Afghanistan after years of service. So far I resisted the temptation to buy the Panda’s HMEE, but after flipping through this book… I just might bite the bullet.
HMEE-I in Detail from WWP is a very impressive photo reference book. It deals with High Mobility Engineer Excavators and depicts details of all the three vehicle variants. Photographed on training exercises or deployed in ISAF contingent, the images show real vehicles in authentic military conditions. Together with the ton of extremely detailed images showing HMEE exterior and interior, the brief captions provide a very engaging read.